Stolen words . . .
While scrolling through one of my favourite blogs I follow on a favourite website of mine I came across a quote whose original source is completely and unfortunately unknown to me.
It hit home with a smile at my upcoming adventure in which I am less than four months away from leaving my job for, and just under five months away from waving goodbye to home, friends and family for.
This quote also brought a smile to my face as I was in the seemingly never ending process of sorting through my many belongings into two categories; sell and keep – the latter being incredibly smaller than the former (I can only describe myself as a secret hoarder after viewing the catastrophe of bags and piles before me – a slightly dramatic term admittedly but I really have collected a lot of ‘things’ over the years).
It may not be the most graceful quote, but to me it is beautiful;
“Did you know, you can quit your job, you can leave university? You aren’t legally required to have a degree, it’s a social pressure and expectation, not the law, and no one is holding a gun to your head. You can sell your house, you can give up your apartment, you can even sell your vehicle, and your things that are mostly unnecessary. You can see the world on a minimum wage salary, despite the persisting myth, you do not need a high paying job. You can leave your friends (if they’re true friends they’ll forgive you, and you’ll still be friends) and make new ones on the road. You can leave your family. You can depart from your hometown, your country, your culture, and everything you know. You can sacrifice. You can give up your $5.00 a cup morning coffee, you can give up air conditioning, frequent consumption of new products. You can give up eating out at restaurants and prepare affordable meals at home, and eat the leftovers too, instead of throwing them away. You can give up cable TV, Internet even. This list is endless. You can sacrifice climbing up in the hierarchy of careers. You can buck tradition and others’ expectations of you. You can triumph over your fears, by conquering your mind. You can take risks. And most of all, you can travel. You just don’t want it enough. You want a degree or a well-paying job or to stay in your comfort zone more. This is fine, if it’s what your heart desires most, but please don’t envy me and tell me you can’t travel. You’re not in a famine, in a desert, in a third world country, with five malnourished children to feed. You probably live in a first world country. You have a roof over your head, and food on your plate. You probably own luxuries like a cellphone and a computer. You can afford the $3.00 a night guest houses of India, the $0.10 fresh baked breakfasts of Morocco, because if you can afford to live in a first world country, you can certainly afford to travel in third world countries, you can probably even afford to travel in a first world country. So please say to me, “I want to travel, but other things are more important to me and I’m putting them first”, not, “I’m dying to travel, but I can’t”, because I have yet to have someone say they can’t, who truly can’t. You can, however, only live once, and for me, the enrichment of the soul that comes from seeing the world is worth more than a degree that could bring me in a bigger paycheck, or material wealth, or pleasing society. Of course, you must choose for yourself, follow your heart’s truest desires, but know that you can travel, you’re only making excuses for why you can’t. And if it makes any difference, I have never met anyone who has quit their job, left school, given up their life at home, to see the world, and regretted it. None. Only people who have grown old and regretted never traveling, who have regretted focusing too much on money and superficial success, who have realized too late that there is so much more to living than this.”
Admittedly I have not been greeted with too many doubts around my adventure; in fact the only one I have actually encountered has been from an often backhandedly negative colleague that used the word ‘concerned’ in an attempt to soften the harsh words it followed around my life choices. Thankfully, knowing her the many years I have, I am able to place most of her words in a box I then walk away from without damaging our friendship; balance and context play an important role in my daily choices and happiness. Another person’s negativity doesn’t need to linger in me; I know myself well enough to know it wouldn’t make me happy.
I have however had talk of my adventure met with a chorus of ‘I wish I could . . .’ – a song I hope to never sing again in my One lifetime.
When I hear these words I always remember something A said to me a few years ago; dream your life, picture every detail of your dreams – every door you have to walk through, picture the handle then turn the handle, picture yourself opening the door and walk through that door . . . picture every single step, every person you have to meet and each conversation you have to speak to get to the next, so that when you come to it in real life you have already seen it, it is familiar and no longer scary, and you can go through that knowing you can live your dream because you already are . . . and then dream bigger!
My wonderful A – never content to stay still, I adore her for this.